Silver City created its Tide Away line to raise money for Mote's red tide research.
When red tide hit Siesta Key in 2018, many beachside businesses suffered.
Although their business took a hit, Silver City Sarasota saw an opportunity to help the community recover.
After watching several volunteers for Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium remove sea life from the shores, proprietor Monica Galfre and her team began designing a jewelry line to raise awareness for endangered sea life.
“Every day you’d see them rescuing sea creatures like dolphins or sea turtles,” Galfre said. “I just wanted to do something for them because they were the ones taking action while we were sitting around doing nothing.”
By December 2018, the group had created a key chain featuring a manatee, a sea turtle and a dolphin to sell. For every keychain purchased, Silver City donated 25% of the proceeds to Mote red tide research, a trend that still continues today.
Over the past two years, the group has created 10 pieces for what is now trademarked the Tide Away collection, some in sterling silver, others in stainless steel.
Store Manager Suzanne Muschinsky said making and selling the jewelry has given the store members a sense of pride.
“We felt helpless — we honestly did,” Muschinsky said. “So when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom of helplessness, you want to do something. This was our way of doing something.”
Since the line first began in November 2018, Silver City has raised has sold $20,784 worth of the Tide Away products, resulting in $5,196 in donations to Mote.
“For us, it’s personal,” Galfre said. “We really feel proud of the fact that we did something for somebody who’s doing something for us, which is taking care of our beaches.”
Although the store sells the line year-round, Galfre does special promotions for days promoting the ocean. For example, there’s a current deal in support of World Ocean Day.
“It’s just a great way to create more awareness for the problems facing the ocean and for the problems we’re facing as a beach community,” Galfre said.
Debra Lewis, who is in marketing for Silver City, said it is great to see so much of the proceeds go toward a good cause.
“The national average of donation to a cause is 6%-10%, so to have a small company donate 25% of every sale, it just shows you where our heart is,” Lewis said.
After two years, Silver City is now hoping to sell its line wholesale. The store has created about 25 boutique displays to give to other small stores in the area, so they can sell the line.
Galfre said it would allow the businesses the chance to donate and earn money as well. The boutiques would still donate 25% of the sale to Mote and keep 25% for themselves.
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